STV’s decision to put regional versions of its HD channel behind a paywall, plus the lack of an ITV HD service for the Scottish Borders means many viewers are still unable to watch their local news without turning over.
Only the STV channel carrying the regional news service for Glasgow and the west of the central belt is currently offered free-to-air.
For the other STV regional services, viewers currently need access through Sky or Virgin Media. This follows a number of carriage deals between STV and the pay TV operators which has put the STV HD regions behind a paywall.
As a result, viewers outside Glasgow and the west of Scotland need to switch over to STV standard definition (SD) for the correct regional news.
Meanwhile in the south of the country, ITV1 Border Scotland is one of just two ITV regions that doesn’t offer a HD version at all. Instead, platforms offer either ITV1 HD Granada or Border England in lieu of the correct regional version.
This arrangement means the region still receives the standard definition version of ITV1 HD on Sky and Freesat channel 103. ITV1 HD is demoted down the channel list: it can’t move to channel 103 until ITV offers an identical service in HD.
The launch of ITVX also didn’t offer any option for viewers to access their local ITV1 in HD. That’s because ITVX currently doesn’t offer regional live streams of ITV1.
Only the Channel Islands is in a similar predicament, where the local ITV1 isn’t available in HD at all.
What about England, Wales and Northern Ireland?
In Wales and Northern Ireland, all main channels are offered free-to-air in HD. In England, ITV is yet to offer some of its regions on Freeview in HD, but they are available on cable and satellite.
The BBC offers all regional and national services free-to-air in HD and will be closing SD services on satellite next year.